A Difficult Decision: My Career Path

9 Feb

Since childhood, my career choices have usually been determined based on what interests me at the time. I can still remember my days of drawing animals, trying to capture their muscle and bone structures to achieve a realistic sketch. This passion for animals made me consider becoming a veterinarian at the time. A few years later, a pencil became more than a tool for drawing. I became interested and skilled in writing as well. From here on out, I remained split between career choices related to the sciences (biology, biotechnology, health) and writing (journalism, marketing). For a while I was overwhelmed with the diversity of choices. Thus, I embarked on doing research on job prospects and key attributes of various professions. I finally concluded that career choices, while based strongly on personal interests, have a number of other important factors as well. This led me to my current career path of biology and its applications, such as biotechnology.

As I matured, I started to realize that there are many criteria one has to base their career decisions on, the three main factors (among others) being: job prospects; compatibility with my skills and personality traits; and my interest in the field. It was difficult to select a career that would meet all three of these criteria. The current global economic conditions do not make the decision any easier. Jobs and colleges are becoming more competitive, and new careers are replacing old ones. Just like the stock market, establishing your career path demands calculated risk-taking and predicting future trends. I had to constantly ask myself: “will this career still be valid in the future?”

In high school, I was surrounded by many classmates who knew what they wanted to study and had a clear-cut path. Some of them were even pursuing their “dream” job that they have fostered since childhood, and you could tell they were born to do it. They would often ask, “So what are you interested in now?” This often made me feel like I was being indecisive. However, what some may view as “indecisive” could in fact be “thoughtful” or “analytical”.  I for one believe that informed decision-making avoids radical course adjustments later.

Throughout this entire process, my parents have also guided me, like echoes of my conscience. When making this decision, I considered how it would affect them as well. They are the ones who will be funding my university education, so it is important that my final decision is well-informed to the extent that my chances of success are great and that their contribution to my savings would have been worthwhile. Of course, while my parents wanted to guide me, they did not necessarily direct or force me down a certain path as many parents do these days. They simply gave me advice and backed off to let me decide.

My choice of career path is among the few critical decisions that will shape my life; therefore, it is not a decision that should be treated casually and with haste. For now, I believe that I have conquered the challenge and sharpened my focus, while keeping my options open. I will pursue a foundation of biology and the branch I choose, whether it be medical school, the health sciences, biotechnology, or genetics will depend on what I discover as I move forward.

Re-written as an insignificant decision:

Since childhood, my career path has constantly changed, darting between the business world, the communications world and the health sciences world, a reflection of the fleeting nature of my interests. As a child, my endless drawings of animals placed me on the veterinarian path. A few years later, however, my interests darted towards writing, another skill and interest I developed. From there on out, my area of focus literally changed every year, from journalism to marketing to nursing to biotechnology. Who knows, maybe it will change again in university.

In high school, many of my classmates knew what they wanted to study and had a clear-cut path. Some of them were even pursuing their “dream” job that they have fostered since childhood, and you could tell they were born to do it. I do not have this same feeling of being “born” for a specific purpose like many others do. Perhaps I will figure that out in my university years. People would often ask me, “So what are you interested in now?” This was another indicator of my indecisiveness.

Not only would I face this at school but also at home. My parents were always on my case about my career choice, asking if I had done any research and if I thought they matched my personality, the job market, etc. This became their favorite conversation topic during dinner, which I finished feeling frustrated each time. Sometimes I think they overanalyze everything or make too big of a deal out of every decision. Besides, who are they to interject? After all, it is my life; I shall just let the chips fall where they may.

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